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An investigative performer for Bloomberg News discusses why the 2008 financial crisis happened and how rescuing the financial institutions has left them stronger while the country has grown weaker.
"My daughter called me from school one day and said, Dad, what's a financial crisis?' And without trying to be funny, I said, It's something that happens every five to seven years.'"
--Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, January 13, 2010
We called it a financial crisis, but what happened in 2008 was really a leveraged buyout of the United States. What the political-financial types did in the months and years after the crisis was engineer a closed loop that never touched the muddy ground or rippled the clothing of an actual person. Wall Street would originate the mortgages and Washington would buy them.
While it's undoubtedly true that many, many Americans had a hand in pushing the U.S. economy to the brink of ruin in 2008, only the bankers and their algorithm-obsessed shadows got or stayed rich with the help of their government in the years following. There was nothing in the rulebook to prohibit Washington from funneling cash to strapped homeowners rather than flush banks. But in the loop-de-loop of Acela Alley, strapped homeowners didn't exist.
The legacy of the financial crisis, however, isn't stronger banks. It's a weaker country. We've paid a price beyond dollars for rescuing the behemoth financial institutions. That's because the biggest boys got even bigger. Before the crisis, at the end of 2006, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo had $5.2 trillion of assets on their books. In 2012, they had $7.8 trillion. That's a 50 percent increase. In 2012, Wells Fargo by itself wrote one of every three residential mortgages in America. There's no denying that banks have gotten so big that if they cough in New York, financiers feel the breeze in Singapore.
|Number of Pages:||275|
|Publisher:||Perseus Books Group|
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H):||6.25 x 10.00 x 1.25 Inches|
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